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Thursday, October 26, 2017

Tracking Time

As an assignment for an online class I had, I needed to track my time. We could do it in half hour increments, but 15 minutes was preferred. I wasted a little time searching for an app to do this, but I didn't find anything I liked. Then I searched for some kind of template online. I found one I liked, but the time frame started too late. My day starts early. ::sobs:: I'm sure no one will be surprised when I say I decided to make my own.

It actually ended up being super easy. I opened a spreadsheet, punched in about an hour's worth of time in 15 minute increments, then did some dragging and Excel handled the rest. I then created four columns so I could check off if the time was spent on a must-do, a priority, something I wanted to do, or something nonessential.

Of course, I had to overthink the entire thing. Does the 7:15 row mean 7:15 to 7:30? Or does it mean the time ending at 7:15, making it 7:00 to 7:15? I know, as long as I'm consistent it doesn't really matter, but I'm not sure I was consistent.

I'll probably do it a few more times, but what I learned? I'm crazy busy with things I must do. Most of the rest fall into the priority category.

The only thing I checked off in the want to do category was my nap on my van pool on the drive to work. Seriously.

Nonessential did have a little online quiz/Facebook time, but other than that? No wasted time.

I will grant you that the day was a bit more crazed than usual, which is why I want to do it a few more times to better judge how my time is spent. It was also a day where I went to bed super early because 1) I'd had 2 hours of sleep the night before and 2) I had to get up super early to drive myself to work because no van pool driver and I wanted to hit the gym before work.

I'm not sure whether I'm more scared to find out that I waste a lot of time or more scared that my days really are this insane from the time I wake up in the morning until I go to bed. Gah!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Moroccan Magique Shawl

It's been a while since I've shared a craft project. I'm working on another shawl. It was originally a Knit-A-Long (KAL), but I was working on section 3 when section 6 was released, so I guess I'm on my own. :-) That's okay. I've been super busy and haven't had enough time to knit lately, but I'll finish eventually.

This is Moroccan Magique (pattern by Casapinka) and I'm about halfway done. I hope I'm halfway! 

The project had some new techniques that I'd never done before: Slip stitch, which turned out to be remarkably easy, and German short rows. Also relatively easy although I messed up and missed a stitch in the first section of short rows and had to tear out a bunch of knitting. I was already behind the KAL, but within shouting distance. Until this. This is what put me way, way, way behind.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Fly Me to the Sky

For a while now I've been coming across comments online about people clapping when their plane lands. They've all been derogatory and belittling of the people who do it. (Some do allow that if your pilot saves you from calamity, that clapping might be okay.) While I haven't ever said anything mean about this, I could see their point. Why clap about something that's so routine?

Then I read that article about the Delta flight that scooted into San Juan, Puerto Rico before the brunt of the storm hit the island and it mentioned that the 173 people applauded when they landed in New York. It was such a cool story, but it started me thinking about clapping on landing.

(As a brief aside, I wish I'd blogged about the Delta flight and hurricane Irma. Sorry that I didn't think of it.)

Anyway, I heard that back before flying was so inexpensive that people applauded all the time when they landed. I guess back then that an airplane flight was an occasional experience and that colored their perspectives. Also, back then flying was more dangerous than it is now. If you watch Air Disasters, you'll know what I mean. :-)

On the one hand, it's pretty cool that many people fly often and that no one really worries about having an issue in flight because it's pretty rare these days. On the other hand, it's a shame we've lost our wonder over flying.

Think about it. A hundred years ago, they were flying the Sopwith Camel. Now you can board a plane built from composite (787 and A350) and fly from the US to Australia or Seoul or China without needing to stop along the way. And fifty years ago, the 747-100 was not flying yet. It didn't take to the skies until 1969. If you board a 747 now, it's probably a 747-400--which came into service in 1989 and is currently being retired across many different airlines.

Flying is a wonder. It's an amazing thing. You can board a plane in Los Angeles and 13 hours later, go through customs in Sydney. How cool is that? And why isn't this miracle of engineering and invention, and even bravery from the earliest pilots not worth marveling over? Yes, it is common to fly, but it's still pretty miraculous when you really think about it.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

My Office Needs an Intervention

When I moved into my house in 2013, things were extremely hectic. I'd moved out of my house in Minnesota and closed on it, then drove down to Georgia where I needed to unpack everything loaded in my car--there was a lot--and get the financial side arranged before I closed on my house in Georgia a week later. Thankfully, my parents did a lot of the unpacking for me, and while I didn't love some of places they put things, I was grateful to not have everything in boxes.

One room, though, that never quite got put away was my office. Oh, everything was out its box, but aside from my research books and computer equipment, it was mostly a free-for-all in that room. And since it was a mess anyway and I needed to put things away at some nebulous future date, it became a dumping ground--Mail that I didn't open (AKA Junk Mail), but didn't have time to shred or recycle, writing notes, bank statements, receipts--well, you get the idea. Periodically, I'd try to tackle it, but storage is in short supply in my house and I didn't have anything to use to organize this stuff.

Finally, I found storage for all the little things that accumulate, took it to my office, and couldn't find those little things. It was frustrating and drove me crazy! Where did all that stuff disappear to? I tried to resign myself to living with a room that looked like that, but I couldn't do it. I avoided the office at all costs.

And then we were having trouble with our cable and I called someone to get it fixed. And boom! a tech was scheduled for the next day. There was a possibility it might need to do work in the office because that's where the modem is.

My dad and I dragged everything on the floor out of the office and got the major stuff on the table near the modem and on the desk out of there too. It all was deposited in a different room.

This got me thinking. Why not take everything out of the office except the computer equipment and the books and go with the plan that nothing goes back into the office until I've looked at and decided there was a compelling reason to keep it. I'm hoping this plan works because I can't take the clutter, but I'm skeptical simply because nothing I've tried previously has worked. Wish me luck.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Too Many Podcasts

I think I've reached the point where I'm subscribed to too many podcasts. I love them, I enjoy listening to them, but I went from searching for something to listen to because I was finished with everything to OMG I can't believe I have this many podcasts in my app! Gah! (I won't address how many audio books I have to listen to still. That's a blog for another day.)

Part of the problem is that I found a few writing podcasts. I only downloaded a few episodes to check them out, but those few sit in queue.

Some podcasts that I love were on summer hiatus and now they're back, including one of my favorites, You Must Remember This about old Hollywood as well as a few others. There are a couple of more whose hiatus should be ending shortly and I'm trying to get caught up before they come back.

I also haven't had the listening time lately that I usually have and that's one of the biggest issues. I'm used to having more time than I've had the past few months.

The final two factors are: How often some of these podcasts update and how long they are. I'm a Mysterious Universe subscriber so I get two episodes a week instead of only one and the one on Friday has bonus content which will frequently go over 2.5 hours and sometimes close to 3 hours.

As I became more and more stressed about falling behind in my podcast listening, my iPhone started nagging me about being low on memory. This is a company phone and that means I only have 16 GB of space for everything. This has taught me one thing--if I ever have to buy my own smartphone, get one a heck of a lot more memory. In fact, I don't think Apple even makes 16 GB phones any longer.

I reached a decision--turn off auto-update for almost all my podcasts.

Oh, I left a few on: Mysterious Universe, By the Book, Scriptnotes, and a few others (not many) and I still feel stressed every time they update, but these are podcasts I generally listen to right away, too impatient to wait.

This has been working. So far. I'm still behind and still trying to get caught up, but at least the flood has been more or less stemmed. I hope I can get caught up before Christmas. I guess we'll see.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The Price of Quality

I saw this to-die-for knitted shawl pattern and there were yarn kits being sold to create the shawl. I absolutely fell in love with the version with all the pinks in it. I love all the bright colors, but I love fuchsia extra hard.

But the yarn to make this awesome shawl with 3 shades of pink family, one gold, and one purple was an expensive brand of yarn. Expensive for this newbie, at least. I'd been buying much less expensive yarns and looking at some of them as too expensive. This really gave me pause. I'd be spending more than $100 for yarn to make a shawl that I might mess up more than once. It incorporated some new techniques for me. But the more I saw the beautiful pinks, the more I wanted it.

I splurged.

As I'm knitting my shawl, I've learned something interesting. The more expensive yarn holds up much, much better to having rows ripped out and redone even if I have to do it more than once. No fuzzing up, no fiber separation. In fact, I'd be challenged to find the places where I messed up and had to try a second or third time because the yarn looks as good as the sections I got right the first time.

This is both good news and bad news. The good news, my yarn is looking good and therefor my shawl is looking good too. The bad news? Now I want to use expensive yarn all the time. Gah! I never realized it would make such a huge difference, but it does.

This is an early snapshot of my shawl. I'll share a picture of the finished piece when I'm done.

Thursday, October 05, 2017

The Dilemma

I have a huge planner dilemma looming in front of me. I have a planner that is literally almost perfect for me in almost every way. Of course, I don't want to switch to another planner when this one is such a close fit for me, but I have a serious problem.

I like having the whole year together.

This planner company does over a spiral-bound planner for the  year, but it has a serious flaw--Saturday and Sunday share a page.

This doesn't work for me on any level. Saturday and Sunday are probably the two busiest days of my week and I totally need full pages for each day. In fact this is the reason why I switched to their 6 ring, A5 planner. It does have the full pages for the weekend days. But it fits in a binder that can't hold more than three months at a time, and because of other add-ons I put in, I can only have two months. I hate this.

Want to reference something that happened in February? Well, that means hunting down pages I've had to remove from my planner and store in an alternate binder. Grr.

So I'm wobbling back and forth right now, trying to make the best decision.

There is a third option, though. Buy the unpunched version of the planner pages for the binder system and take it somewhere to get three-hole punched. I have a nice, big, zippable binder that should hold the entire year. But it's not pretty at all. :-( I love my pretty blue binder. I also love full pages for Saturdays and Sundays. Dilemmas, dilemmas.


Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Hey, You Guys!

A while back I came across an article that listed five things (I think it was five) that you should never say at work. Curious, I decided to check it out. IIRC, I'd never heard four of the five spoken at work. I'm saying IIRC because I read this article a couple of weeks ago and moved on, thinking I'd never want to reread it. The problem was that one of those items has been bugging me and now I'm blogging about it. :-)

Anyway, one of the five is what has been gnawing at me. The article said never say "You guys" because it makes your female colleagues feel as if you don't value them or BS like that.

Seriously? Dudes, I'm from Minnesota. Almost everyone uses "you guys" as a plural form of you. There is no sexism involved. In this context, guys has no gender identification. It's no different than saying "youse" or "y'all." It is a plural.

I've heard linguistics talk about this on podcasts. English lost the second person plural and we've been trying to recreate it ever since. Where you live determines which choice you make. For example, Minnesota uses "You Guys." I promise you there is nothing sexist about it. It's not exclusionary in the least, it's just our dialect. (PS: Lots of other areas of the country say you guys too!)

This is the first time I've ever seen someone misunderstand what you guys means in such a blatant manner. I'm a female. If someone addresses a group I'm in as you guys, I don't feel less valued. Hell, I don't even think about it because this is such a natural way of speaking.

Maybe other areas of the country who use a different plural you don't know this? But I think that's wrong. I've moved to the south and the favorite is y'all. Still, no one here seems to misunderstand what I mean when I say you guys. This kind of leaves me thinking that the writer him or herself doesn't like guys as a second person plural and took the opportunity to try and quash it. The problem is this is a dialect. Good luck beating that out of people who learned this from the cradle.